Updated: May 6, 2020
The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant [...]. God looked upon the Israelites and God took notice of them. (Ex 2.23-25 NRSV)
Fear of what the Israelites might do enticed Egypt to deliver horrid abuse against this large collection of people who had peacefully lived among them for centuries. God heard their cries under the brutal horror of slavery. Aviya Kushner describes it so vividly, "The [...] cries of the slaves are so piercing that they force God to remember what he had promised." Whether you believe God could forget, or find another explanation for that part of this passage, the main point is God heard their cries and responded. Those anguished cries opened the door to the most glorious of miracles.
I hoped against hope, that the citizens of our country would respond in love, as our country navigates this pandemic crisis. Sadly, the opposite experience has been reality for so many Asian Americans. It makes me sick to see how quickly we forget our supposed "enlightenment" and thrust hate upon a new group. Lord, hear their cries!
I don't know about you, but I feel a deep sense of powerlessness and discouragement as I scan through historical atrocities, observe how little we remember from our past, and how quickly we repeat those horrid mistakes. It is especially discouraging to me as I watch hate be the first response to our fear during the current crisis. Will God hear the cries?
And then, my vision broadens during my historical scan.
God heard the cries of the early Christians as the persecution took the lives of so many. Oddly enough, it was Constantine, a Roman Emperor, whom God used to answer the cries of the tortured.
God heard the cries of the Jewish people who suffered atrocities, sickening even to mention, at the hands of the Nazis. Amazingly, God utilized a large portion of the world to rally to their rescue.
God heard the cries of those brutally enslaved in America. God used a very strong leader's willingness to sacrifice half of a country to free innocent lives from abuse.
God heard the cries of the early German and Irish immigrants, who suffered intense discrimination and harm. God used strong leaders and loving people to change the tide of hate towards these people groups.
God hears the current cries. He hears the cries of the mistreated immigrants, the cries of the marginalized, the cries of the wrongfully scapegoated. God hears their cries.
If God heard so many cries of the abused, how much more so will he now hear our cries to be part of the solution. As I scan back through the ages, it becomes so thrillingly obvious how uniquely the same we are not only to those around us, but also to our ancient predecessors. We are following the cries that capture his heart. We are part of his plan to bring redemption. God has given Mission1Race the opportunity to step into the fray. For such a time as this, God has put the heart of love for everyone on the hearts of so many dedicated individuals within M1R.
You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them. (Psalm 10.18)
Oh, Lord - You said you heard the cries of the abused. You said you hear our cries for redemption. You said you hear the cries of the righteous seeking to follow you and be change-agents in a hurting world. Hear our cries now; hear the fear, hear the hurt, hear the willingness to step into the places of harm, hear the hope for a better future. We share your heart for everyone getting the love. Strengthen us as we step into this battle. Protect. Provide. As you said you would. Thank you.
- Becky Miller
In this post -
I reference Aviya Kushner, in her book, "The Grammar of God. A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible." Published by Spiegel and Grau, New York, 2015. (Kindle Loc 1447)
I also mention my reintroduction to the discussion surrounding historical and current trauma through Resmaa Menakem, in the book, "My Grandmother's Hands. Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies." Published by Central Recovery Press, Las Vegas, 2017.